Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: The Animated Series - Episode Guide - Season 2

By far the shortest of any Star Trek series, season 2 of The Animated Series is a scant six episodes long – and few are truly worth watching for reasons beyond completism and/or curiosity. And curious indeed are episodes like “Bem,” which culminates in an alien dude contemplating suicide – children’s television programming in the 1970s: Wacky stuff, eh?

Star Trek fans – even those too geeked-out to realize how lame TAS season 2 generally was – didn’t realize it when these six episodes ended their first run in October 1974 had no idea about the future of their favored entertainment franchise. After this season, however, the Star Trek franchise clearly needed a reboot – 30 years before the phrase was popularized.

1. The Pirates of Orion – From out of nowhere, Spock contracts a space virus (okay, “choriocytosis” by name) that McCoy can’t treat but can confirm gives the Vulcan a few days to live. Unfortunately, the cargo freighter bringing supplies, including medicine, to the Enterprise is plundered by the titular buccaneers – and the chase is on. ***

2. Bem – For some reason, this episode is named for its guest star, an observer of Federation culture known as Ari bn Bem. Bem accompanies an away team, which promptly gets snapped up by a carnivorous Stone Age-culture species lorded over by an Insane God! Bem gets suicidal near the episode’s conclusion but is talked out of it, so that’s a positive message. **

3. The Practical Joker – Just because the NCC-1701 “recreation room” is but a primitive version of holodeck technology of 75 years later doesn’t mean it can’t be used to flesh out plots. Like this one, which begins with a Romulan attack on the Enterprise, followed by a malevolent cloud being taking over the Enterprise’s functions and using them to play practical jokes on the Enterprise crew. ***

4. Albatross – On Dramia II (must have derived that name from Dramamine…), McCoy is busted and accused of having begun a plague on the planet 19 years earlier. The Enterprise crew – soon reduced to only Spock – must find a way to free McCoy when an outbreak of the same plague hits the Enterprise. **

5. How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth – It’s the Enterprise versus an Insane God! Specifically, an all-powerful alien who formerly appeared as a god to Mesoamerican peoples, guiding the ancient civilizations (pity this “Kukulkan” couldn’t help in defending against the Spanish). Mostly the same old, same old, but that “Capellan Power Cat” is cool. **

6. The Counter-Clock Incident – The Enterprise is pulled into a supernova and exits into another universe (really?), wherein time moves backward (though physics and language are apparently unaffected). The reverse-universe’s time also proceeds very quickly, and thus we are “treated” to another insipid reverse-aging story followed by a magic transporter solution. A terrible way to close out the series, but at least it’s not “These Are The Voyages”… *